Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2008
Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission
April 29, 2008
The Commission meeting was held on April 29, 2008, with Speaker William J. Howell as chair. Senator Colgan was elected as vice chair, and he also will serve as chair of Workgroup 1 - Coordination - and as vice chair of the executive committee.
THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY
Jennifer Esler welcomed the group and shared information about the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley by presenting a video for the members.
VALLEY BATTLEFIELDS FOUNDATION
Howard Kittell briefed the Commission on the purpose of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and its accomplishments since being created by Congress in 1996. The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation's purpose is to:
SPECIAL LICENSE PLATE
Eula Anderson of DMV reported that the license plate design had been completed, which will include the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War's website address on the bottom and the logo on the left-hand side. The Commission members unanimously approved the design.
The license plate will be available for sale on July 1, 2008. A link to the DMV will be posted on the sesquicentennial website to order the license plate. Revenue from the plate will be disbursed in September or October, annually.
ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS: TIME TRAVELERS PROGRAM
Scott Harris described the Time Travelers Program to the Commission members. Youth receive a passport and take it to museums and historic sites all across Virginia. After they collect six or more stamps, they can earn a certificate of completion signed by Governor Tim Kaine. The Time Travelers Program was created in 1996 through the Virginia History Initiative. The program aims to support historic and cultural resources by increasing visitation and visibility; promote summer learning; and increase tourism revenue in Virginia by promoting multiple museum visits. Mr. Harris indicated that 38% of the 137 sites in the program contain Civil War content.
Mr. Harris also discussed the program's need for funding in order to continue its services. The Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) proposes the Commission fund the Time Travelers Program $30,000 annually for 2009-2015 or a single allocation of $210,000 to be applied over the 2009-2015 period. The Time Travelers Program would then promote the Sesquicentennial on its website and all printed materials, highlight special events, provide incentives to tour Civil War specific sites, and produce special sesquicentennial certificates for the completion of the program.
Discussion was held regarding whether the program would give enough focus to the Sesquicentennial, but noted the importance for the program. The Commission did not act on VAM's request.
MARKETING PLAN FOR THE CIVIL WAR SESQUICENTENNIAL
Upon request of the Chairman, the Virginia Tourism Corporation developed a strategic marketing plan for the Sesquicentennial. Civil War tourism is already high in Virginia and Civil War tourists tend to stay longer and spend more than average visitors. However, challenges remain, including: (i) better-known battlefields in other states; (ii) overall, the number of visitors to historic sites is declining; and (iii) the abundance of Civil War destinations in Virginia that may present confusion to visitors.
Richard Lewis presented the message of the Sesquicentennial as one that states American life - the very structure and evolution of our society - can be traced to the Civil War. So much of what America is today can be traced to the effects of the Civil War and, now more than ever, Americans are poised to discover how learning about it has an impact upon how they view their democracy and society. Virginia was the epicenter of the most pivotal event in American history; the stories of the enormous sacrifices, the tragedy, the triumph and the legacy are all told here - and everyone should hear those stories. Therefore, the goal of the marketing plan is to raise awareness of Virginia as a Civil War tourism destination and position Virginia as a top-choice prior to and during the Sesquicentennial.
The marketing plan will begin with research and will integrate tactics such as public relations, advertising, targeted email, sales, special promotions, international marketing, community outreach and support, and resources of the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Virginia Film Office. An estimated budget for the marketing plan throughout the Sesquicentennial is $8,246,500. There was a motion by Dr. James Robertson to allocate funds to the Virginia Tourism Corporation for 2008 ($30,000) and 2009 ($25,000). The motion was agreed to by the Commission. Delegate Lingamfelter suggested the Virginia Tourism Corporation collaborate with Pennsylvania to market Virginia as a precursor to Gettysburg and capture the two million people that travel there.
A grant proposal was submitted to the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation for support of the Signature Conference series, law symposium and the website. Dominion has expressed interest in supporting the visitor kiosk program based on its very successful support and feedback of the kiosks within Virginia state parks, and Phillip Morris, Bank of America and S & M Brands have expressed general support and Ms. Watkins will continue to follow these proposals.
Senate Finance Committee Report
Mr. Hickman has finished drafting the first "Sesquicentennial Moments" article, entitled Kansas, 1854-1858. These notes are intended to highlight the state of the country related to the Civil War 150 years ago. The "Sesquicentennial Moments" will be put on the website as an educational resource for visitors. Mr. Hickman will continue writing the pieces, but encouraged members and staff to take part, as well. Delegate Lingamfelter suggested taking the articles and using them as lecture series. The lecture series could also be used as a fundraiser for the Commission.
The Commission has received responses from 15 institutions of higher education, offering support for meetings, tours or conferences. Speaker Howell sent a letter to each college and university in December. The Commission will discuss this item further and make decisions at the June meeting.
after funding the DVD project, paying its first installment to VHS, and
paying the first two years of the strategic marketing plan from VTC, has
a fund balance slightly over
Dr. Robertson gave a status report on the DVD, which is aimed at 8th graders. He has written all nine scripts. Blue Ridge Public Television has purchased high definition cameras and filming will begin late in April at major Civil War sites, including Manassas, Harper’s Ferry, and Antietam. Theme music selected for the DVD is “Shenandoah,” performed by Bobby Horton. The DVD is scheduled for completion in August 2009, but Dr. Robertson is hoping that it will be finished in June or July so that it can be previewed. Members of the Executive Committee requested notification prior to the beginning of postproduction for donor recognition.
Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2008